Walking down Victoria Street reading menus (one of my favourite past-times) I noticed this new entry to Sydney’s restaurant scene in the old Ciel Rouge site. Tastevin Bistro & Wine Bar is named after the small, silver cup that Burgundian winemakers used in candle-lit cellars to judge the quality of the wine, so it’s good to see that wine is a focus in this attractive candle-lit dining room and bar. I think that in terms of decor, they have also improved the site - in particular I love the poster.
Start in the bar with the Strawberry of Reims ($14) champagne cocktail before moving to the dining room. Alex & Natasha Bourdon are wine enthusiasts and know their well-priced list intimately, so let them guide your exploration. The 2006 Lillian Marsanne Rousanne ($52) from Pemberton, WA they chose for me was truly exceptional.
Sydney Rocks ($3/each) impress with dressing of sherry vinegar and eschallots; but are quickly forgotten when the Gnocchi a la Parisienne ($16) arrives.
The excellent choux pastry dumplings rest in a white truffle Mornay sauce with sautéed mushrooms. It was the first time I have had gnocchi made from something other than potato, sweet potato or pumpkin.
The Veal Pâté-en-Croûte ($15) is tasty, as are the accompanying caper berries, cocktail onions and cornichons. I prefer the pastry wrapping to serving it with bread too. It looked and tasted very much like picnic fare, and it made me want to go on a picnic soon.
Mains include the Confit Pork Parmentier ($26) with roasted apple, prune and Armagnac. I really liked the flavoursome rilette style pork in this dish.
The Entrecote de Boeuf ($29) with waffled potato chips and sauce Bordelaise was satisfying and nicely cooked, but for me it’s all about the wicked gnocchi.
We were urged by Natasha to have a side of Hand Cut Pommes Frites ($6) and they were great - much better than my out of focus shot implies.
One thing you really notice with this job is the soundtracks restaurants provide. Let me tell you, eighteen months in, I am getting very bored with the ubiquitous Gotan Project, so at this restaurant I appreciated the upbeat Les Nubians soundtrack as we waited for our dessert special - Cherry Clafoutis ($12). It wasn't my sort of dessert - plus as you might have guessed, I only have eyes for the gnocchi.
Tastevin Bistro & Wine Bar
Level 1, 292 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9356 3429